Part of the ongoing tragedy of the stupidity of Iraq is the killing of uncounted tens — or hundreds — of thousands of innocent civilians by (let’s face it) US troops. Without going onto the ethics of action under combat, the fact is indisputable that, had we not invaded in the first place, those people would not be dead.
Often overlooked, though, is the could-have-been.
For instance there was a fairly hefty oil spill on the west coast of South Korea last month, a spill that wrought havoc on maritime ecosystems, and now seems to have killed at least one fisherman, protesting corporate inaction in the cleanup efforts:
Ji Chang-hwan drank poison before dousing himself with inflammable liquid and setting himself alight.
Now I’m not going to try to blame this on Bush — but I am going somewhere with this, so bear with me. In the same edition of the Beeb’s news we come across a report of a flood disaster in Zambia:
More than 40 people have been killed in the region, and roads, crops and livestock destroyed.
Rains have been going on for weeks and thousands are displaced. But wait, there’s a trifecta; hell appears to be breaking loose in Colombia too:
Thousands of people have been evacuated after a volcano erupted in southern Colombia, throwing out clouds of ash several kilometres high.
No one’s reported dead — yet anyway — but the eruption’s still young, so to speak.
What has any of this to do with Iraq? Imagine, if you will, a US military unencumbered by a pointless, endless, useless war. Imagine a military that hasn’t been overtaxed and overdeployed for the last half decade. Imagine an economy not crippled by mounting and overwhelming debt. What could the US do with all those resources?
Well, for starters … help clean up the worst oil spill in South Korean history; or help with evacuation and shelter in Zambia; or do the same in Colombia.
In addition to the clear benefit of extending humanitarian aid, the status of the US in the world as a nation in good standing would go up a bit. We’d have more allies who would be less willing to house terrorists. We’d be living our ideals, behaving as a truly Christian nation in offering care and comfort to fellow human beings.
But, you know, we can’t, because … well, you know.
George W. Bush, his administration and cronies, and everyone who supports him cannot be forgiven for what they have perpetrated on both our nation and on our planet. They can’t be forgiven — because their victims are all dead.
The saddest part of all, of course, is that they’ll never understand that. They will remain hideously twisted, monstrous inhuman caricatures until their dying days, each and all of them, baffled at what all the fuss is about and wondering why they’re so reviled.
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